Corporations Are Unions Of Rich People

And they hate competition

indi.ca

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Sri Lanka’s famous trade union leader, Joseph Stalin

Corporations are unions. They are literally organized groups of people (shareholders). Corporation have union meetings (shareholder meetings) and take collective action (board resolutions). The capitalist class is highly unionized and they have no objection to the general concept. They just don’t like working class people doing it.

A union is working people getting together to advance their interests. This is generally good for business because people on the ground know what the fuck is going on, unlike shareholders who are quite happy to loot their own companies with share-buybacks and leveraged buyouts. In Germany, in fact, worker presence is mandated on most company boards, combining the two forms. Yet in most of the world (and much of Germany I assume) the two forms of organization are antagonistic.

Capitalist unions (shareholders0 advance their interests at the expense of worker unions, and traditionally try to destroy the latter with guns, truncheons, and the modern violence of withholding healthcare and firing people. This is generally bad for companies and the economy in general, but capitalism has always been about short-term looting, of the colonies, of the working poor at home, and of the planet at large.

The lie capitalism tells is that competition levels out all this inequality in the long-run, but that’s bullshit. I’ve worked in the corporate world and we fucking hate competition. We’re trying to limit it at every turn, and if we can’t we just buy each other out and conglomerate. Corporations profess some religious belief in an invisible hand, but visibly block competition at every turn. Corporations buy other corporations to form even bigger and bigger unions, while politically and systematically decimated worker unions. They divide and conquer unions into the old hands (who get benefits) and new hands (who get fucked). They also use the corporate media to blame strikes for harming the economy and ordinary people when in fact workers are ordinary people that actually drive the economy.

The fact is that the gambling den we call a stock market is not ‘the economy’, it’s just where the richest 10% roll the dice with the blood and bones of actual workers. The capitalist class are just naked rent-seekers, profiting from usury and stolen labor. They get away with it because they’re unionized—because their class is able to act in concert—and it is this power that they most fear in the working class. They fear that the workers would become shareholders in their own destiny, and form a union of their own.

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indi.ca

Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.